The Royal Project at Doi Angkhang Station

    Located on Tanaosri mountain, Doi Angkhang is just five kilometres from the Thai-Burmese border. The climate is amazingly exotic by local standards. Situated 160 kilometres north of Chiang Mai (40 km from Fang district) and 1,400 metres above sea level, Doi Angkhang is cool all year round; temperatures can reach zero Celsius in winter.
    The weather not only allows cold-climate plants to grow, but it also attracts thousands of visitors to taste the winter chill each year.

The Royal Hill-Tribes Development Programme, at present called The Royal Project, was inaugurated in the year B.E. 2512 (A.D. 1969), following His Majesty the King's expressed desire to initiate the benefits of sedentary agricultural practice to the Hill-Tribes community with introduction of substituted cash crops that, in some cases, may fetch higher market prices than opium. During the early stages of the project, His Majesty encouraged the grafting of temperate climate peach scions to the stocks of local species of peach trees. The grafted trees bore fruits that were improved in texture and taste and were hardy enough to withstand long transportation journey to the markets. Other temperate climate fruit scions were also experimemted with at different elevations at the Royal Project's Highland Agricultural Research Stations in various villages in Chiang Mai Province, Phui Village, Mae Chaem District, Khum Village, Fang District, Khun Wang Village, San Pa Tong District, Sam Mun Village, Chiang Dao District, and Mae Tho Village, Hot District,

LOGO: applesLOGO: Japanese pears

Not long ago, most of the hilltribe residents of Doi Angkhang earned their living cultivating opium poppies in this vast, mountainous area of Fang district in Chiang Mai.
But since the establishment of the Royal Agricultural Project Foundation in the area 28 years ago by His Majesty the King, things have gradually but definitely changed. Today the beautiful opium poppy fields on Doi Angkhang no longer exist and have become just another travellers' tale.
Virtually the whole area now features arrays of brightly coloured blooms because of the cultivation of marketable flowers, fruits and vegetables such as plum, kiwi, avocado, strawberry and raspberry which once had to be imported.
The hilltribes people have shifted to cultivating cold-climate plantations introduced by the Royal Agricultural Project Foundation. Hmong and Karen members in particular grow chrysanthemums, carnations, roses, asters, gladioli, lilies, orchids and several other varieties of flowers. From this produce they are able to generate a substantial income to themselves and for the country.
An officer at the station said that some hilltribe families can earn as much as 50,000 baht for a crop season by selling their products to the project. The flowers and fruit are supplied to both the domestic and export markets.
In addition to helping hilltribes to earn direct income from growing plants, the Royal Project at Doi Angkhang station has recognised the good potential to further promote the area for tourism.
His Serene Highness Prince Phisadej Rajani, chairman of the Royal Project Foundation, has taken to calling the area Amazing Doi Angkhang. He has spearheaded the research and development of the Royal Project from the beginning.
He recalled that in the old days Doi Angkhang was covered with illegal opium poppy fields which were heavily guarded by ethnic hilltribes. But once the project came into existence, the residents finally agreed to shift their cultivation to more beneficial produce.
Doi Angkhang is now one of Chiang Mai's most famous natural tourist attractions. Dubbed Thailand's Little Switzerland, Doi Angkhang is second to none among destinations in the province. The public is able to visit the Doi Angkhang Royal Project. Until recently, accommodation was fairly Spartan. Visitors could camp, rent a bungalow provided by the Foundation, or stay in a guesthouse in a hilltribe village.

Return to Projects of His Majesty the King

  • Illustrated Handbook of Projects Undertaken Through Royal Initiative, a Publication of the Committee for the Rattanakosin Bicentennial Celebration to Commemorate the Rattanakosin Bicentennial Buddhist ERA 1982, 1982.
  • Jarunee Taemsamran, "Change in bloom on Doi Angkhang", DISCOVER THAILAND, Bangkok Post Magazine, December 4, 1997
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